Tips for getting groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Getting groceries is somewhat of a chore, but during a pandemic it’s made even more difficult with social distancing and trying to utilize delivery to minimize exposure.

Services such as Instacart, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods have been crippled with the significant uptick in demand. You’re either put on a waiting list or you’re just out of luck and can’t get groceries delivered at all.

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Here are some ways to help optimize your chances to get your groceries delivered in a timely manner and some ways to utilize your time wisely if you decide to go in-store or pickup.

Grocery delivery

It might be a lot of work but having carts ready to go and getting up early could increase your chances to get what you need and when you need it.

Sometimes you might need two different grocery carts ready to go as you check for time slot availabilities.

Instacart has made their “Fast and Flexible” feature available for an additional fee. You can pick from a list of time slots that best fits your schedule.

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Make sure to be specific about substitutions. Both Instacart and Shipt (Target) allow you to choose the “best option” feature. This way, guessing can be minimized and shopping lists can be fulfilled quickly.

Tipping well can make the difference between a willing and efficient shopper and a slightly less motivated one. “Around here, anything under $50 should get at least $5,” says a Shipt shopper. “If you want to give $10 or $20, that’s beautiful,” according to Consumer Reports.

Ordering pickup

Pickup ordering is another option to get your grocery shopping done with minimal exposure to crowds of people. Since pickup is in just as high demand, the same tactics can still apply here as they do with delivery.

Constantly check for available time slots at your desired shopping destination. The most optimal time to snag a time slot in both pickup and delivery seems to be around midnight, according to Consumer Reports.

Shopping in-store

If shopping in-store is your best bet to get essentials, here are some ways to stay safe and stay efficient while shopping during a pandemic.

First and foremost, make sure to wear the suggested protective gear such as a mask or scarf to cover your nose and mouth.

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Have a shopping list ready to go so you can be in and out.

Pick the best times to shop. This all depends on where you might live and how populated it is. Does the store have specified hours for seniors? Consider these things before making your trip so as to minimize how long you’re out and about.

Also try smaller shops that carry essential items such as local family-owned grocery stores and convenience stores. You could get lucky and find a few of the more coveted items like toilet paper.

In the event you don't know when the best time is for you to go shopping, OpenTable provides a new feature that allows you to reserve shopping times.

Places such as Panera Bread, Subway and Potbelly have repurposed their stores and are now selling groceries, also.

RELATED: Panera, Subway and Potbelly selling groceries during pandemic